June 16, 2004

I'M WITH STUPID (via ef brown):

Americans Know Little About European Union: Generally downplay its role and potential (Alec Gallup and Lydia Saad, 6/16/04, GALLUP NEWS SERVICE)

By their own admission, Americans are largely uninformed about the network of 25 countries that now comprise the European Union, or EU, as it is widely called. A landmark Gallup Poll testing U.S. public knowledge of the EU finds a remarkably high number -- 77% -- admitting they know very little or nothing about the organization. Only 3% claim to know a great deal about it. Furthermore, relatively few Americans -- just 20% -- correctly assess the population of EU nations relative to that of the United States, saying the EU is "larger." [...]

Americans who believe they are highly or fairly knowledgeable about the EU are much more likely than those with lower levels of self-stated knowledge to believe the EU is a contender for world superpower status. Nearly two-thirds of those in the high-awareness group (65%) believe it is very or somewhat likely that the EU will one day become a superpower like the United States. This drops to 50% among those who say they know very little about the EU, and to 27% among those who indicate they know nothing about the organization.

As is nearly always the case, the less you know about them the more accurately you forecast their future, which is more dismal than glorious.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 16, 2004 11:31 AM

If the EU becomes a superpower to rival the United States, I will personally eat a pound of your backhair.

Posted by: Governor Breck at June 16, 2004 12:40 PM

Thinking you know a great deal usually correlates negatively with actually knowing a great deal.

Posted by: mike earl at June 16, 2004 12:44 PM

The EU a serious contender ? Of course ! For Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia, that is.

Posted by: Peter at June 16, 2004 1:15 PM

They think that they can become a diplomatic superpower, wielding the frank discussion, stern resolution and strongly worded communique in lieu of the smart bomb or the soldier on the ground. If that fails, there is always the ever effective sanctions regime. Stability uber alles.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at June 16, 2004 2:04 PM

Many scholars of the USSR held a very high opinion of that system during the 1950s-1980s.

Today there seem to be an unusual number of academic apologists for Islamic dictatorships. (See Said, Edward.)

Posted by: Gideon at June 16, 2004 2:13 PM

Well, you average European doesn't know much about our Union, either. For instance, the average European generally blames the President for the U.S.'s use of the death penalty (and many other "socially retrogressive" aspects of our culture). They don't understand that it's a Constitutional / State-to-State issue outside the President's direct control.

Further, I bet your average Euro can't tell you squat about, say, South Carolina and what might distinguish it from, say, New Hampshire.

Posted by: Twn at June 16, 2004 3:15 PM

If EU was in reality a contender for rival status, more people would pay attention to it.

Posted by: sam at June 16, 2004 5:44 PM

The EU is already an economic superpower.

And despite Orrin's fantasies, likely to remain so for quite a while.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 16, 2004 7:42 PM

Alas, it's an economic superpower like an Airbus-300 taking off on a cross-Atlantic flight without enough fuel and with leaking tanks.

Posted by: ray at June 16, 2004 9:35 PM


I beg to differ. Statist solutions to every problem mean they perpetually live with unemployment rates double ours.

You can't waste that many resources and be a superpower.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at June 17, 2004 7:27 PM

Is there a category in the survey titled "know enough about it to not care"?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at June 18, 2004 2:46 PM